Community leaders at the helm of improvement
Most organisations working with communities collaborate with government line ministries at a particular time depending on the type of activity being implemented. What I value in the Blantyre story is the pivotal role the multi-sectoral QI team is performing to improve vulnerable children’s wellbeing at the community level. All the members of the team bring some knowledge, skills and experiences to support young children to thrive in their holistic development.
Collaboration of various service providers working with children in a community is challenging due to other competing priorities among stakeholders. Hence being able to establish such a group to spearhead improvement efforts for children in limited resource settings is amazing.
The involvement of local leaders in the QI teams also helps the local leaders’ access information on some of the challenges community members and stakeholders working in the area are facing. Local leaders have also driven the change agenda among their communities to support the welfare of children. Government extension workers’ participation in the QI teams is significant because they provide technical knowledge and services to improve children’s wellbeing in the communities. QI team meetings also highlight gaps in service delivery and brainstorm possible sustainable solutions to life threatening challenges in the communities.
It is interesting to note that the Blantyre QI team is unique since most of the QI team members are geographically located in the surrounding communities and they experience similar challenges with their families on a day-to-day basis. Hence the QI team is passionate to drive the change to improve the wellbeing of children through the provision of quality early childhood development services.
To read more about this experience, please see the case study "A community-led approach to improve early childhood development and nutrition in Blntyre district, Malawi, using quality improvement methods"